Blog / Thoughts

What’s in a Name? A Love for Words

Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion regarding a possible Rumi film. Yes, an entire film dedicated to the life of the most famous Persian poet. This got me thinking; I’ve always had a difficult-yet-poetic name. When I was a kid, I used to highly dislike being named “Ghezal” because no one ever knew how to say nor spell it. First days at school would be a constant struggle, as I’d cringe at the way my teachers would stall when trying to read my name off their attendance sheets. It sounds like a joke, but it was – and still is – something I experience all the time.

Most people would later tell me that I have a great name. “It’s so unique”, they would say. While this is true – it’s not a very common name anywhere – it’s still always been difficult to have such a novel name. It’s been even more difficult trying to figure out what to tell people to call me; should they call me “Ga-zelle”, “Gisele”, or the Farsi “Ghe-zal” as it’s meant to be said. The truth is, I’ve gone through all of these, and people still pronounce it differently now. The truth is, I don’t really care how people pronounce my name. I would always prefer it to be said the Farsi way, but a lot of people just can’t pronounce it that way. So, I’ve come to terms with the next-best “Gisele”, which is a beautiful name in its own right.

Well, as much as my name can be complicated to introduce, it’s also interestingly reflective of who I am. A “Ghazal” is a form of poetry, one that usually revolves around love, beauty, and sometimes pain. It’s about expression, and the written word as being a romantic form of appreciation. Although I personally don’t write primarily about love, I have an appreciation for the written word, and sometimes see the world through romantic eyes. This aspect of my name reflects my love for writing, and seeing beauty where others may not necessarily see it.

Moreover, my name also means “deer” in Farsi. Doe-eyed and harmless, deer are some of the most innately innocent creatures in the wild. They’re likely to warn others about any potential threats, and don’t fight unless it’s necessary to protect the ones they love. While I’m probably a bit feistier than that, I feel it all applies to me. As silly as it is, I love animals, and their various characteristics being somehow applied to names.

So, it was the initial thoughts of Rumi – who wrote many ghazals – that made me really think about my name. Once upon a time, I greatly disliked being so easily distinguishable from others due to my name, but I’ve grown to like “Ghezal” more as the years go by. I wouldn’t swap my name for any other, and know that even in its origins, it suits me well.

Do you know what your name means, and do you feel it suits you?

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